Publications / SAND Report

Analysis of micromixers and biocidal coatings on water-treatment membranes to minimize biofouling

Altman, Susan J.; Clem, Paul G.; Cook, Adam W.; Hart, William E.; Ho, Clifford K.; Jones, Howland D.; Sun, Amy C.; Webb, Stephen W.

Biofouling, the unwanted growth of biofilms on a surface, of water-treatment membranes negatively impacts in desalination and water treatment. With biofouling there is a decrease in permeate production, degradation of permeate water quality, and an increase in energy expenditure due to increased cross-flow pressure needed. To date, a universal successful and cost-effect method for controlling biofouling has not been implemented. The overall goal of the work described in this report was to use high-performance computing to direct polymer, material, and biological research to create the next generation of water-treatment membranes. Both physical (micromixers - UV-curable epoxy traces printed on the surface of a water-treatment membrane that promote chaotic mixing) and chemical (quaternary ammonium groups) modifications of the membranes for the purpose of increasing resistance to biofouling were evaluated. Creation of low-cost, efficient water-treatment membranes helps assure the availability of fresh water for human use, a growing need in both the U. S. and the world.